The A-League is planning to introduce a system of promotion and, eventually relegation in an attempt to bring the best-placed clubs from the proposed second division to the top tier.
As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, club executives were recently briefed on the blueprint that closely follows the Japanese J-League, which grew from just one professional division to three in a span of over 21 years.
The report also claims that the APL told the clubs they are prepared to admit the strongest teams from the second division to the top tier.
However, those clubs would need to demonstrate they prove their financial muscle and adhere to a set of strict criteria that also would require the capacity for sustained high-quality performances on the pitch.
A-League expansion planned
There would also be no limit to the number of clubs promoted. However, once the total number of teams reaches 20, the A-League will likely be split into two leagues, tentatively called the A1 and A2 Leagues.
Once the two leagues have been established, teams would be able to go up or down to A1 and A2, respectively.
However, teams will be protected from relegation below A2 while second-division teams that meet the criteria will still be promoted to A2 in a staggered fashion.
Promotion and relegation would not be simple
Since the A league is played in the summer, with the second division being played in the winter, the traditional promotion-relegation system, like in Europe, is impossible to achieve.
The plan has reportedly been received favorably by club executives, who see it as an almost perfect compromise.
They feel any successful second-division club would be safely integrated into the professional system. It also provides a much-needed sporting jeopardy that was long missing from the A-league.
The APL is determined to expand the A-League from 12 to 16 teams by introducing Auckland and Canberra teams in the 2024-25 season.
However, APL chief Danny Townsend refused to comment on the presentation or the plan claiming that they have allowed the second division process to run without interference.
Photo credit: IMAGO / Sports Press Photo
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